By MitchellStephen Crane (1871-1900) is best remembered for the Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage. Less well-known are his poems, which were remarkable for the day in that they were written in free verse, with neither rhyme nor meter. They are often dark and tightly wound, not poems one would recognize as being from the 19th Century. "In the desert" presents a stunning image (as well as providing Joyce Carol Oates with the title for one of her novels). It somehow seems appropriate today.
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter-bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."